Ukraine announced early on Friday that its emergency services have managed to put out the fire at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant — Europe’s largest nuclear plant — which it claims began after Russian shelling.
Earlier Ukraine said that a Russian attack on the nuclear plant caused one of the buildings at the plant — a five-story training facility — to catch on fire. The plant itself wasn’t affected but it was feared that the fire could spread if it wasn’t quickly contained.
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) March 4, 2022
Ukrainian emergency services said initially they were blocked from getting to the scene. But at 05:20 AM local time, firefighters were finally able to start tackling the fire. It was extinguished about an hour later, Ukraine’s Emergency Services wrote.
BREAKING: Russian troops are firing at Ukraine's largest nuclear power plant, officials say. "Russian army is firing from all sides upon Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe," Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs tweeted. https://t.co/NbyzjmHjVb pic.twitter.com/IcXOt73PEu
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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Ukraine’s regulator had told the organization there had been no change in reported radiation levels and that the fire had had not affected “essential” equipment.
The Zaporizhzhya plant is among the 10 largest in the world. It is in southeastern Ukraine near the city of Enerhodar, on the southern shore of the Kakhovka Reservoir on the Dnieper River. The plant generates nearly half of the country’s electricity derived from nuclear power, and more than a fifth of the total electricity generated in Ukraine.
Zelensky invokes “global catastrophe” at Chernobyl after nuclear plant attack
“The biggest nuclear power plant in Europe is on fire right now,” Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video posted on Twitter.
He accused Russians of deliberately shooting at the Zaporizhzhia plant’s six reactors using tanks equipped with thermal imaging cameras.
Invoking the “global catastrophe” at Chernobyl in 1986, he warned the consequences of a meltdown at Zaporizhzhia would be far worse.
“Europeans, wake up please. Tell your politicians that Russian forces are shooting at the nuclear plant in Ukraine,” he begged.
Zelensky said he had been in touch with leaders from the US, UK, EU, Germany and Poland, as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency, but called on ordinary citizens to raise alarms with their own politicians too.
“Russian propaganda has warned in the past that it would cover the world in nuclear ash. Now this isn’t just a warning, this is real.”
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) March 4, 2022